When the Avengers assembled in Wakanda in Avengers: Infinity War they were greeted by a king who offered his army to help in the fight against Thanos. The tribes of Wakanda gathered for that battle alongside the Black Panther and the Avengers with their trademark spears and energy shields, and they were more than able to handle themselves against the Outriders. There was almost one major addition made to the fight in the film though, and that would have seen the Wakandan-warriors suit up in tech that probably would have made War Machine and the Hulkbuster armor blush in the midst of battle.
In the pages of Marvel's Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Movie, a few pages of alternate armor and costumes for both the Black Panther himself and his warriors can be seen (starting at the 12:40 mark in the video above). For the Panther, some of his alternate armor appears almost medieval, with a Knight quality to them. Another shows a version outfitted with a similar shield and armor to what Captain America wears in the final fight, others include a variety of firearms which don't quite seem like the T'Challa's style. Perhaps the most interesting bit though comes on the following page featuring a variety of Wakandan mech suits. Some bear a striking similarity to the mechs seen in films like Avatar, though these carry the trademark spears of Wakanda. The book quotes concept artist Fausto De Martini about the design process here, saying:
“I was working with Ryan Meinerding and the VisDev department and he said 'We're thinking about the idea of having these armored guys in mech suits to fight alongside the Wakandan-warriors.' I tried to design the mech suits in a way that was very African-inspired. You can see there's one version that I did that has those African masks so it's hard to see that there's a person even in the suit, because I wanted to make it look like this being that is moving around that you initially don't even know what it is – but then you see there's a guy driving that. In the other one, the drivier is a little more obvious. I tried to bring evicence of the African culture to the both of them and to make it look like Wakanda's style.”
Even cooler on the page following is the reveal that robotic panthers almost stormed the battlefield too. De Martini revealed in the book that they were discussing these designs at the same time, saying the idea came from the simple brainstorm of “How cool would it be to have a robotic panther fighting alongside the warriors?” The artist said he experimented with the designs including some that were clearly more robot inspired and others that looked more panther-like. In the end, none of these things ended up in the final film and given the close proximity with which Black Panther was released compared to Avengers: Infinity War, perhaps it would have been a stretch that these two giant tech leaps had been absent from that film.
The inclusion of Wakandan mech suits in the battle during Infinity War would raise one major question following The Snap, would the suits also disappear or just the pilots? We'll never know the answer since they didn't make it past the concept art phase, but it's certainly possible that had they been included in Avengers: Infinity War, they likely would have marched on the final battle of Avengers: Endgame as well. Plus, there's always 2022's Black Panther 2.
Avengers: Endgame is now available wherever movies are sold and will be available to stream on Disney+ when it launches November 12th. Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Movie is due out November 19th and can be pre-ordered here.
Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. Ant-Man 3 and Blade are also without theatrical release dates.
What do you think about the unused Black Panther and Wakanda designs from Avengers: Infinity War? Sound off in the comments below!